Science

Sunday Night Forecast: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meteors

NPR | April 22, 2013 8:49 a.m.

Contributed By:

Steve Mullis

A general view of the Geminid meteor shower in the National Park of El Teide on the Spanish canary island of Tenerife on December 13, 2012.

A general view of the Geminid meteor shower in the National Park of El Teide on the Spanish canary island of Tenerife on December 13, 2012.

AFP/Getty Images, AFP

Keep your eye on the sky Sunday evening, the Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak tonight. It’s the first meteor shower of the spring season.

The Lyrid shower is caused by Earth passing through the orbit of a comet known as Thatcher, though the comet itself hasn’t been seen since 1861. Dust particles from the comet will be seen as flashes of light as they burn up in our atmosphere.

Kelly Betty, senior contributing editor for Sky and Telescope magazine, tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin that best time to watch will be in the early hours of Monday morning, just before dawn.

“The nice thing about meteor showers is that they are very widespread,” Beatty says. “This shower lasts about a day and a half.”

Beatty also recommends finding a place that is dark, without a lot of streetlights, to have the best odds of seeing the flashes of light in the sky.

“Meteor showers are truly magical,” he says. “It’s like the universe communicating with us on some primal level. Meteors are the cosmos in action.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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